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  #1  
Old 08-07-2010, 05:10 AM
Phil Carter Phil Carter is offline
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Default Mitre Square in all it gory glory.

Hello all,

I transferred this posting, with some editions to this thread for discussion, from the Sagar thread..

2 weeks ago I stood in Mitre Square, for the best part of an hour. Something that I hadn't done since I was a young lad. A couple of things struck me whilst I was there.....

Mitre Square is actually quite small..smaller than you would imagine (at least I imagined).. it is fairly compact really. Distances from one corner to the other corner ..relatively small.

There is an echo in that square. Because of the buildings around it, and how enclosed it is. Any sound, even in the middle of the afternoon with London traffic dull in the background, echos. I clapped my hands a few times at different points of the square..just to see, hear and judge things.

Morris, sweeping the floor... didn't hear a thing, yet he normally heard the beat pc every 15 mins. If Jack the Ripper had rubber soles on his feet... Kate Eddowes certainly didn't. Those footsteps in the dead of night would echo..clearly. And when you watch two "lovers" walking to a destination..are they always silent? If either "Jack" or Kate said a word, laughed, giggled, scraped a foot on the stones as they walked.. it would have been heard...
So we are to presume that a sobering woman and her "catch" are silent as they walked are we? As far as echo is concerned, I'd love to see if on Jakes models the buildings would have created that echo then...I suspect it did.

Finally... the Square was pretty dark in 1888 we are told. Lamp at one end, lamp at another...
BUT...Morris said his door was ajar... and Morris certainly didn't work in the dark. So the light coming from the open doorway would shine out into the darkness... and "Jack" would very likely have seen it as he walked into the yard. Now if Jack saw it.. he KNEW that someone was likely awake and in there....

That tells me either Morris was lying and was asleep, or Morris was lying and awake, or Morris heard Jack the Ripper and ignored him and his "woman" walking in trying to find a lonely dark corner..


IF there was light coming from the ajar door of where Morris was working. it really is crucial...

Because it depends on whether the hinges on the door made the door swing out from the left of the doorway, or the right. Think about it... where would the light from Morris' doorway shine out upon? And did the door swing inwards, or outwards? If outwards... more direct light would shine into the square, if inwards, less.

Now... if the door had hinges on the left hand side as he (Morris) opened it from the inside... the light would travel more out into the square than if the hinges were on the right hand side... and if it was an outward swinging door...with hinges on the left (from the inside as you look at it)...masses of light would enter the square....

Now which way would it have to be to shine more light onto Eddowes corner? Can anyone do some sort of model mock up as a demonstration?

best wishes

Phil
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  #2  
Old 08-07-2010, 08:00 PM
Rubyretro Rubyretro is offline
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Hi Phil -I must say that your questions have had me thinking of a reply all day
-I must say that I find the noise far more of an enigma than the lack of blood or what he did with the organs.

You're quite right that it's almost impossible to stay totally silent, at the dead of night, enclosed by buildings with hard surfaces like bricks and glass windows, with a cobbled floor, wearing boots which possibly have nails on the sole, and when one person doesn't appreciate the need to be totally silent -you would think that even Catherine's skirts would rustle perceptively.

I live amongst narrow, medieval streets, and it's amazing how far sound carries if I have the windows open -I am certainly aware of the murmer of people whispering at the end of the road IF I am awake. I think that in the silence of the night, with an echo, you're more subtly atuned to sounds -probably a defensive mechanism thats inborn.


Quote:
That tells me either Morris was lying and was asleep, or Morris was lying and awake, or Morris heard Jack the Ripper and ignored him and his "woman" walking in trying to find a lonely dark corner
..

I certainly agree with your conclusions : Morris was probably lying!

There is an outside chance that he was sweeping a hard floor with a stiff bristled broom or a bezum, moving scraping boxes or furniture, and whistling, and so he heard nothing outside
-but you'd think that there'd be lulls in the noise, during the time it took for the couple to cross the square. Also, if Morris was making a noise, then JtR was really incredibly cool to carry on with his deed, knowing someone was very much awake.

I suppose that Jack could have told Catherine not to make any noise because
Morris was a known 'peeping Tom' or something...I don't think that he could have said that Morris would throw them out the square -afterall , what lone person would confront a strong rough man, in an isolated spot with a prostitute ?

Infact Mitre Square wasn't 'private property' (as far as I know), and as long as Jack and Catherine were just walking across it, they weren't even doing anything wrong, so why wouldn't Morris say that he'd heard the couple cross the Square but wasn't aware of the suite ?

So there is the tantalising question of whether Morris actually witnessed the murder but turned his back. I don't say that I would blame him for not going out to intervene in a murder -but you would imagine that he would have shouted from the doorway, to make the murderer run off ; afterall, a murderer was hardly going to show his face in the light, knowing that Morris could just bolt himself inside the building, and a Policeman would soon arrive.

Overall, I think that Morris must have been asleep..

I don't think that the light is such a problem : shadows appear much deeper and darker, in contrast to light. If you were looking out of your lit up kitchen at the garden, you wouldn't see into the black corners. Infact, if you turned the light OFF, and let your eyes adjust, you'd be able to see ALL the garden much more clearly.

Catherine must have struggled a bit, made a thud falling to the ground, though -even the ripping apron would make a noise..

It's incredible that JtR was so confident not to be scared by the light and the proximity of Morris ..

Last edited by Rubyretro : 08-07-2010 at 08:05 PM.
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Old 08-07-2010, 08:37 PM
lynn cates lynn cates is offline
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Default dynamitards

Hello Phil and Ruby. Perhaps Morris took little note of the noise, thinking it was merely those pesky Fenians storing their dynamite again?

Cheers.
LC
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Old 08-07-2010, 09:20 PM
Rubyretro Rubyretro is offline
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[
Quote:
QUOTE=lynn cates;143064]Hello Phil and Ruby. Perhaps Morris took little note of the noise, thinking it was merely those pesky Fenians storing their dynamite again?
Hi Lynn -I get your point.

Still -imagine how quiet it must have been in Mitre Square at night, with no distant traffic, no planes, not so many dogs and cats, no ringing mobile 'phones, distant tv sets or radios, and all those close hard surfaces to magnify any sound. Mitre Square was not a busy main road with pubs and
people traipsing along; it must have been very lonely.

Even if Morris didn't pay any attention to people walking through, and didn't pay attention to them, you think that somewhere he'd register their presence; Afterall, he DID say that he was aware of the Policeman on his beat (and that was only one person not two).

He wasn't doing anything wrong by not going out (unless he was sleeping on the job!) -he could just have said "yes, I was dimly aware of a couple walking
through the square about that time, but I'm afraid that I didn't really pay attention to it". But he didn't. He said that he didn't hear ANYTHING.

Phil's right -it's very intriguing.

Last edited by Rubyretro : 08-07-2010 at 09:24 PM.
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  #5  
Old 08-07-2010, 10:37 PM
lynn cates lynn cates is offline
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Default covering up

Hello Ruby. Phil's quite right, of course. I don't think Morris' story will withstand critical scrutiny (not unlike John Kelly's egregious yarn).

The pressing question, of course, is, What were they covering up?

Cheers.
LC
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  #6  
Old 08-07-2010, 10:57 PM
Monty Monty is offline
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While we are accusing Morris of lying are we also doubting the other residents in the square, namely the Pearce family?

Monty
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  #7  
Old 10-20-2010, 10:26 AM
Raoul's Obsession Raoul's Obsession is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil Carter View Post
Hello all,
Morris, sweeping the floor... didn't hear a thing, yet he normally heard the beat pc every 15 mins. If Jack the Ripper had rubber soles on his feet... Kate Eddowes certainly didn't. Those footsteps in the dead of night would echo..clearly. And when you watch two "lovers" walking to a destination..are they always silent? If either "Jack" or Kate said a word, laughed, giggled, scraped a foot on the stones as they walked.. it would have been heard...
So we are to presume that a sobering woman and her "catch" are silent as they walked are we? As far as echo is concerned, I'd love to see if on Jakes models the buildings would have created that echo then...I suspect it did.

Finally... the Square was pretty dark in 1888 we are told. Lamp at one end, lamp at another...
BUT...Morris said his door was ajar... and Morris certainly didn't work in the dark. So the light coming from the open doorway would shine out into the darkness... and "Jack" would very likely have seen it as he walked into the yard. Now if Jack saw it.. he KNEW that someone was likely awake and in there....

That tells me either Morris was lying and was asleep, or Morris was lying and awake, or Morris heard Jack the Ripper and ignored him and his "woman" walking in trying to find a lonely dark corner..


IF there was light coming from the ajar door of where Morris was working. it really is crucial...

Because it depends on whether the hinges on the door made the door swing out from the left of the doorway, or the right. Think about it... where would the light from Morris' doorway shine out upon? And did the door swing inwards, or outwards? If outwards... more direct light would shine into the square, if inwards, less.

Now... if the door had hinges on the left hand side as he (Morris) opened it from the inside... the light would travel more out into the square than if the hinges were on the right hand side... and if it was an outward swinging door...with hinges on the left (from the inside as you look at it)...masses of light would enter the square....
best wishes

Phil
I just thought I'd get back to the original question from this post and suggest an answer based on Morris's testimony from the Inquest as it seems noone else has answered it yet.

Watkins' testimony says that he ran over to the door of Kearley and Long {sic} where the door was ajar and pushed it open (inexact - written from my memory). Crucially he said 'pushed' it open implying that it opened inwards (though not 100% definate).

If we then take Morris' testimony, he says...

"The Coroner: What happened about a quarter to two in the morning? - Constable Watkins, who was on the Mitre-square beat, knocked at my door, which was slightly ajar at the time. I was then sweeping the steps down towards the door. The door was pushed when I was about two yards off. I turned round and opened the door wide. The constable said, "For God's sake, mate, come to my assistance." I said, "Stop till I get my lamp. What is the matter?" "Oh, dear," he exclaimed, "here is another woman cut to pieces." I asked where, and he replied, "In the corner." I went into the corner of the square and turned my light on the body. I agree with the previous witnesses as to the position of the body. I ran up Mitre-street into Aldgate, blowing my whistle all the while. "

Okay, so that again suggests his door opens inwards because if he was on the inside and the door opened towards him he would call it 'pushed'. Furthermore, he says he turned round and opened it wide: something that he would only do if indeed it opened inwards.

But then here's the interesting point that seems to have been lost:

"By Mr. Crawford: Before being called I had no occasion to go into the square. I did not go there between one and two o'clock; of that I am certain. There was nothing unusual in my door being open and my being at work at so late an hour. I had not seen Watkins before during the night. I do not think my door had been ajar more than two or three minutes when he knocked. "

this whole discussion of light being present seems a non-issue - his door wasn't ajar while the murder was taking place and no light was coming out into the square from that factory. This does raise some other questions though. Firstly - the door was closed and he was sweeping the stairs thus he himself was making noise. This could be one reason why he heard nothing. Another possibility however concerns when he opened the door ajar and why. Did he think he heard something? was the ripper still in the square at the time and upon seeing this fled?

just some things to ponder.
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  #8  
Old 10-20-2010, 11:00 AM
Fisherman Fisherman is offline
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It would seem that there was a reoccurring thing, Raoul - Morris swept his way downstairs to the door, and when he got down, he opened it and had a rest. This is what he told the papers:

"Every night in the week, barring Saturday night, I stand at this door and smoke my pipe from one till two o'clock. It is a habit with me, and the police on the beat know it well, but on Saturday nights I have some work to do inside that interferes with it."

Of course, this was a Saturday night, and so Morris had things to do that prevented him from taking that hour of rest at the stated time. To me, it would seem that the extra work needed on Saturdays may have meant that he still took a breather - but not until he could spare the time. And that time seems to have dovetailed with the Ripperīs exploits in the square.

I think your suggestion that the opening of the magazine door scared Jack off is an eminent one. It would have created both light and a noise - and the impression that somebody was going to exit the door in seconds.Luckily for Jack, Morris opened the door before finishing off the sweeping of the last few stairs.

The general impression is that the Ripper fled by way of the passage leading to St Jamesīsquare, but if he really took of as the result of having been scared away by Morris opening the door, then maybe it would be more credible to suggest Mitre Street as the flight route - although we know that this street seemed to have been better guarded by the police. But it would seem odd if he took off in the direction of danger, instead of travelling away from it ...

The best,
Fisherman

Last edited by Fisherman : 10-20-2010 at 11:13 AM.
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Old 10-20-2010, 01:06 PM
lynn cates lynn cates is offline
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Hello Fish.

"But it would seem odd if he took off in the direction of danger, instead of traveling away from it[.]"

It would indeed. It would also be odd--as you point out--that he did not run smack into the police if he exited via Mitre st.

Cheers.
LC
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Old 10-20-2010, 01:14 PM
Fisherman Fisherman is offline
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Exactly, Lynn! At least if he took a left turn, for it was from that direction that Watkins was approaching. But a few seconds can be an eternity in scenarios like this, letīs not forget that!

The best,
Fisherman
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